Choosing Music After Method Books

Question from an email by Crystal:

“Hi friend! I have a question for you…  what books do you go to once a student is out of piano adventures? I feel like there is still a bit left to learn before going straight to classical. Like, they never even got to 4 flats in the 5th book, and I have kids who are terrified of them. So I’m searching for something that doesn’t just rely on me, because there are people way smarter than I am out there :).”

What a great question Crystal! I think that this can be a very intimidating part of teaching for those who haven’t taught intermediate students very much. With my years of experience of teaching and also my experience in working in a music retail store for 5 years, I CAN HELP!



#1 Look for music books that are Leveled.

  • This takes the guesswork out of looking for music and deciding whether or not it is an appropriate level.
  • All students come out of method books with different strengths and weaknesses. Some students are strong readers, some students are strong technically, some students are strong artistically. Think about what a student is weak in, and find a book that uses that concept a lot.

#2 Use my 5 Star Curriculum to keep repertoire well rounded.

  •  The best part about method books is that they take the elements of learning piano (i.e. technique, sight-reading, theory…etc.) and put it all together for us.  After a student graduates from method books, it’s easy to flounder with what music to give them.
  • What is the curriculum? “Curriculum is the subjects comprising a course of study in a school or college.” In other words, the curriculum is all the puzzle pieces that fit together to ensure your student has a complete learning of piano.
  • I use a 5-star curriculum. I love to explain it to my students and parents so that they understand the “why” of each book or exercise that I use in the studio.

Have you ever wondered why there are so many books in a method book series?

There is a “point” to each of those books. Check out my 5-POINT CURRICULUM below!

#3 Remember that each student is an individual with different “tastes” in music.

  • I like to think of graduating from the method books like graduating from high school. Students have gained a great foundation but now they get to “specialize” in what they love.
    • For high school graduates, it might be a technical college, or it might be a college of arts, and for others, it might be highly academic like a University.
    • Relate this idea to the piano and we find that some students love classical music, others are drawn to pop or movie music, while others might want to explore writing their own music.
  • Be flexible during this time. Try lots of different repertoire. If a student doesn’t practice or expresses distaste in a piece, ask specific questions and determine why they don’t relate to it.

Below are some of my favorite repertoire books for students who have graduated from their method books.

{Click on an image to follow the link for more information}
  • Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with any publishing company, composer, or retail store. I am just a teacher who has had a positive experience with the following books. The links I used was for ease of writing this post. I do not endorse and I am not affiliated with any of them.
Great Book! Can be used for technical or sight-reading skills. Each study is short so it’s easy to add to any lesson.
Awesome scale book! Every student should have it. A little expensive but worth it.


Great book with a little of everything. Intended to have repertoire for the whole year. Available in different levels.
I cannot say enough about these books. PLEASE take the time to explore them. If ending a method book, I would look at Book 3 as a possible beginning point. There is a Technique, Masterwork, and repertoire book.


This is still one of my #1 used books that my students love! There are several BigTime Piano books that you could use to further piano reading or use as sight reading.
New BigTime Piano Book!




Classics that are all the same level. Different volumes available.
I have had much success with these theory books. Leveled


I have used these for years! CD is a nice helper for you and your student. Leveled Explore level 5 after coming out of method books.
Solos from the best of the best composers. Different volumes available. Love these!



These classical leveled repertoire books have been around for a long time. They are tried and true!














There are oodles and oodles of wonderful book out there. Most retail stores have a practice room that you can try music out before you purchase.

I could write a whole other post with more music….

and maybe I will.

OR, if you read this post, share in the comments what repertoire books work for you.

Until then, Happy Teaching!

One comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *